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Aussie junior eyes vanadium near Juneau


Last updated 3/22/2019 at 6:21am

Critical Mineral Alaska exploration vanadium titanium Snettisham magnetite

W. Oelen, courtesy of Wikimedia

Vanadium was named after the Scandinavian goddess of beauty and fertility, Vanadís (Freyja), due to the wide range of colors found in vanadium compounds. The vials above show four oxidization states of vanadium in aqueous solution.

Northern Cobalt Ltd. Feb. 26 reported that a recently completed magnetic survey has confirmed the presence of a large magnetite body at its Snettisham vanadium-titanium project in Southeast Alaska.

Situated about 50 kilometers (32 miles) south of Juneau, Snettisham hosts a large outcropping body of magnetite with iron, titanium, vanadium, and possibly platinum-group elements. This intrusion extends for at least 3,800 meters along the coast of the Snettisham Peninsula and up to 1,500 meters inland.

Historical magnetite-rich rock chip samples show potential for high grade vanadium with values up to 0.56 percent vanadium pentoxide. These values are expected to increase significantly in magnetite concentrates.

Currently, vanadium is primarily used as an alloy metal. In this capacity, a small amount of vanadium adds strength and heat resistance to the metal it is alloyed with. Ferrovanadium, a vanadium-iron alloy, is used in high-stress auto parts such as gears, axles and crankshafts. Titanium-vanadium alloys are used in jet engines.

An emerging use of this critical metal is in vanadium redox batteries, also known as vanadium-flow batteries. Taking advantage of vanadium's ability to exist in solution in four different oxidation states, the vanadium redox battery uses one electroactive element instead of separate elements for the cathode and anode.

In its global search for magnetite-hosted vanadium occurrences, Northern Cobalt said Snettisham stood out as a prime opportunity that it could not pass up.

In December, the Australia-based battery metals company staked 48 claims covering the vanadium prospect.

"Northern Cobalt believes that the fundamentals of the battery metals markets remain strong," said Northern Cobalt Managing Director Michael Schwarz. "Not only is the company placing itself as a potential supplier of cobalt to the electric vehicle markets, it has now acquired a significant vanadium project that gives it exposure to demand for the metal in vanadium-flow batteries and the increasing demand for use in high-strength steel in the building industry."

Northern Cobalt said Snettisham enjoys the advantage of being located on the Pacific Rim coast, adjacent to a deep-water channel capable of hosting Panamax and Cape class vessels that could ship iron- and vanadium-rich magnetite concentrates to market.

The Snettisham property has been studied since at least the 1950s, when the U.S. Bureau of Mines studied the prospective area.

In 2013, Arrowstar Resources commissioned Burton Consulting Ltd. to undertake a NI 43-101 technical report on the Port Snettisham Iron Ore Property. In this report they detail eight rock chip samples of magnetite bearing pyroxenite – igneous rock that are predominately made of magnesium- and iron-rich minerals – collected along the beach.

All of the samples contained vanadium, titanium and several other metals and minerals. The best vanadium results came in sample five, which contained 0.339 percent vanadium pentoxide and 5 percent titanium dioxide, and sample nine, which contained 0.564 percent vanadium pentoxide and 6.5 percent titanium dioxide.

Northern Cobalt said sample nine represents the type of high-grade vanadium it is targeting with its exploration.

Critical Mineral Alaska exploration vanadium titanium Snettisham magnetite

Theodore Gray

The Australian junior said its recently completed airborne geophysical survey shows exceptionally high magnetic anomalies coincident with historical vanadium samples, confirming Snettisham's potential.

"The sheer magnitude of the magnetic anomaly at Snettisham gives Northern Cobalt a good indication of significant concentrations and volume of vanadium bearing magnetite in the intrusion," said Schwarz.

"We are currently developing a 3D inversion of the magnetic data which will allow us to model the size and distribution of magnetite within the system," he added. "This will allow us to generate drill targets for the upcoming field season."



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